Can-Am is back on two-wheels, new electric motorcycles eye LiveWire, Zero

Bombardier-owned Can-Am will return to the two-wheel fray with a fresh range of electric motorcycles targeted directly at LiveWire and Zero

Can-Am Electric Motorcycles

Historic Canadian company Can-Am has announced it is returning to the two-wheel motorcycle market with a fresh range of electric on and off-road motorcycles.

A bold change of direction for the firm - owned by Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) - ahead of its 50th anniversary, Can-Am is best known for its ultra-successful dirt bike offerings of the 1970s and 80s that won numerous Motocross titles across North America.

Founded in 1971 by Bombardier - best-known in a wider sense for its aviation and commercial jet business - Can-Am was wound down again by 1987 as the company focused on ATVs, snowmobiles and vehicles for military use, though it kept its hand in the motorcycle industry of sorts with the launch of the three-wheeled Spyder and Ryker roadster.

Now Can-Am is making a surprise comeback as a fully-fledged motorcycle manufacturer specialising in electric power, confirming its intentions with a short clip that shows four new models, one dirt bike and three smaller models.

“With the motorcycle industry shifting to electric, we saw an opportunity to reclaim our motorcycle heritage and to re-enter the market,” said BRP CEO Jose Boisjoli. 

“This new product category is extremely important to us, and we are thrilled that Can-Am motorcycles are the first EV models in BRP’s electric lineup to be confirmed to consumers. 

“Many of us have very fond memories of riding the early dirt bike models, and now we look forward to building on the rich history of the Can-Am brand to inspire and impress a new generation of motorcyclists and electric vehicle enthusiasts.

What can we expect from Can-Am?

Though no details have been offered up, a bit of sleuthing offers a hint of the direction the firm is looking to head in.

Indeed, Can-Am’s comeback has been on the cards since 2018 when it purchased the intellectual property and assets from defunct EV start-up Alta, which evolved into the unveiling of three electric concept models in 2019

These were a version of its existing Ryker three-wheeler, the eCom - a three-wheeler bearing some similarity to the BMW C1 with its roof - the CT1 scooter, CT2 small motorcycle and the TWeLVE, which looks like the (unholy) offspring of a Piaggio MP3 and Italjet Dragster [Ryker/TWeLVE pictured above].

If we up the exposure on the video, while a pair of the models appear like a two-wheel version of the Ryker with a low-slung rear-end, these could turn out to be scooter-like models similar in approach to the BMW CE.04, while the dirt bike follows the theme set out by Zero’s successful electric off-road range.

Perhaps the most interesting anomaly is the two-wheeler on the left of the group photo, which gets the biggest starring role in the promo video.

Potentially a development from the CT2 concept, this unnamed model appears compact in size to suggest it will be primed as a rival for the forthcoming LiveWire Del Mar, the first all-new model to come from the Harley-Davidson founded firm since it was spun-off into its own sub-brand.

Nevertheless, some clues about the final look have been previewed by leaked patent documents that show an unusual design with a particularly aggressive front-end lighting arrangement.

Either way, Can-Am’s big comeback announcement is just the start of what will be a fairly long journey to get these models on the road with sales due to get underway in 2024.